Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Video: Small town bank puts people before profits


CATTARAUGUS, N.Y. - We've been telling you a lot this week about trouble at the biggest bank in America. Now we thought we'd tell you about one of the smallest. It has just one office and no drive-up window. Its assets are about $14 million and its profits are barely enough to mention. But as CBS News correspondent Dean Reynolds reports, it's never been about making money -- it's about lending it.

Gallup Poll: 71% Believe the Economy is "Poor"

Friday, May 11, 2012

Salon: Obama Using the Karl Rove 2004 Playbook

Like his predecessors, Obama will do anything and everything to get re-elected. Many of his followers will go along because they've been brainwashed into believing the 'ends-justifies-the-means' because he is the 'lesser-of-two-evils' argument. And as a result we will get more of the failed policies that have been destroying this country for decades:
Barack Obama’s presidency was born from nothing so much as his repudiation of George W. Bush’s administration — its policies and politics, its style and tone. One of Obama’s most effective 2008 stump speech refrains was his promise to end the era of “Scooter Libby justice, ‘Brownie’ incompetence and Karl Rove politics.”

But the political dynamics for winning a second presidential term often differ markedly from winning the first. So don’t be surprised by many eerie parallels between Obama’s 2012 reelection bid and Bush’s 2004 campaign. The president may not rely upon “Karl Rove politics” in the strictest sense, and nobody would confuse David Axelrod with Rove. But Obama’s reelection route and rhetoric may bear more than a few Rovian hallmarks.
Full article

The 'GlobalMay manifesto' of the Occupy movement


We are living in a world controlled by forces incapable of giving freedom and dignity to the world's population. A world where we are told "there is no alternative" to the loss of rights gained through the long, hard struggles of our ancestors, and where success is defined in opposition to the most fundamental values of humanity, such as solidarity and mutual support. Moreover, anything that does not promote competitiveness, selfishness and greed is seen as dysfunctional.

But we have not remained silent! From Tunisia to Tahrir Square, Madrid to Reykjavik, New York to Brussels, people are rising up to denounce the status quo. Our effort states "enough!", and has begun to push changes forward, worldwide.

This is why we are uniting once again to make our voices heard all over the world this 12 May.

We condemn the current distribution of economic resources whereby only a tiny minority escape poverty and insecurity, and future generations are condemned to a poisoned legacy thanks to the environmental crimes of the rich and powerful. "Democratic" political systems, where they exist, have been emptied of meaning, put to the service of those few interested in increasing the power of corporations and financial institutions.

The current crisis is not a natural accident; it was caused by the greed of those who would bring the world down, with the help of an economics that is no longer about management of the common good, but has become an ideology at the service of financial power.

We have awakened, and not just to complain! We aim to pinpoint the true causes of the crisis, and to propose alternatives.
[...]1. The economy must be put to the service of people's welfare, and to support and serve the environment, not private profit. We want a system where labour is appreciated by its social utility, not its financial or commercial profit. Therefore, we demand:

• Free and universal access to health, education from primary school through higher education and housing for all human beings. We reject outright the privatisation of public services management, and the use of these essential services for private profit. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Poll Shows Americans' Pessimism On Economy Growing


A gloomy outlook on the economy extends across party lines, a new Associated Press-GfK poll has found, and handling the nation's economy remains President Barack Obama's biggest challenge in his bid for a second term.

Almost two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the president's handling of gas prices, a new high. That shift comes despite a steady decline in gas prices in recent weeks.

The public tilts negative on the president's handling of the overall economy, and just 22 percent say the economy improved in the past month.

Muslim Baby Ordered off Plane, Suspected of Being a Terrorist

al Qaeda might have young members. But 18 months old? This case another example of the stupidity of the TSA and the no-fly list. It's outrageous. I hope this family sues:

EIghteen-month-old Riyanna has been called a lot of things: cute, adorable and now ... a suspected terrorist.

She was called that on Tuesday night at the Ft Lauderdale Airport. She and her parents had just boarded a JetBlue flight when an airline employee approached them and asked them to get off the plane, saying representatives from the Transportation Security Agency wanted to speak to them.

ALSO: Man buys candy bar, then steals cash from register

"And I said, 'For what?'" Riyanna's mother told only WPBF 25 News on Wednesday. "And he said, 'Well, it's not you or your husband. Your daughter was flagged as no fly.' I said, 'Excuse me?'"

Riyanna's father was flabbergasted.

"It's absurd," he said. "It made no sense. Why would an 18-month-old child be on a no-fly list?"

Riyanna's parents, who asked not to be identified, said they think they know the answer to that question. They believe they were profiled because they are both of Middle Eastern descent. Riyanna's mother wears a hijab, a traditional head scarf. That's why they have asked to remain anonymous. They said they're concerned about repurcussions. That said, they are both Americans, born and raised in New Jersey, just like their daughter.
 Full article

U.S. trade gap widens to $51.8 billion in March

The beat goes on. Trade deficits have existed for decades in the U.S. It is what is destroying American jobs and weakens the economy. It is why we don't make anything anymore. But it is also great for corporations that take advantage of cheap labor abroad:

The U.S. trade deficit widened sharply in March as imports snapped back, reversing course after having fallen the prior month, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

The nation’s deficit expanded 14.1% in March to $51.8 billion from a revised $45.4 billion in February, government data showed.
We know exactly what the trade deficits cost in jobs:
Nearly 2.8 million U.S. jobs eliminated or displaced since 2001 due to growing U.S.-China trade deficit, EPI analysis finds

The U.S.-China trade deficit has eliminated or displaced nearly 2.8 million U.S. jobs since 2001, a new Economic Policy Institute (EPI) briefing paper finds.  Growing U.S. trade deficit with China cost 2.8 million jobs between 2001 and 2010 by Robert Scott, EPI’s Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Research, finds that all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico suffered jobs lost or displaced as a result of the growing U.S.-China trade deficit.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Occupy Wall Street May Day Protesters May Have Been Unlawfully Arrested


The police captain, bullhorn in hand, paid no mind to the heckler gesturing and yelling in front of him. His stern command was clear: the young man, and with him the crowd of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators assembled at the plaza on the southern tip of Manhattan, would all have to move. And fast.

They were, the captain told them, breaking the law by standing in a New York City park after closing time. They would be given a little time to vacate the premises, but after that, "anyone who does not disperse will be subject to arrest under park rules."

That was the scene last Tuesday at the public space known as the New York Vietnam Veterans Memorial Plaza, where about a thousand demonstrators had descended following a day of street protest called by the loosely organized movement against social and economic injustice known as Occupy Wall Street. It was the end of May Day, and the protesters -- who had flooded the park and conducted an improptu forum earlier -- were now surrounded by hundreds of NYPD officers, who had followed the Occupy march from Union Square.

The captain's threat wasn't hollow. Within minutes, 12 people who had refused police orders to evacuate had been arrested and were being marched, in plastic handcuffs, to a blue-and-white NYPD paddy wagon. They were charged with "remaining in a New York City Park after closing without permission," a crime for which late-night joggers, amorous couples and mischievous teenagers are more commonly cited.

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The officer's authority to issue that threat, however, is less certain. As it turns out, protesters were not standing in a New York City park at all when they were told to disperse.

Over 1,300 Tubes Damaged at Calif. Nuclear Plant

Here's an example of problem that is being essentially ignored by press until a disaster happens. The politicians don't particularly want this to be a concern because it would harm the profits of their corporate masters:

 More than 1,300 tubes that carry radioactive water inside the San Onofre nuclear plant in Southern California are so damaged that they will be taken out of service, the utility that runs the plant said Tuesday.

The figures released by Southern California Edison are the latest disclosure in a probe of equipment problems that have kept the coastal plant sidelined for more than three months.

At issue has been the integrity of tubing that snakes through the plant's four steam generators, which were installed in a multimillion-dollar makeover in 2009 and 2010.

Video: Paul Krugman: We are in a Depression

The famous economist appeared on C-SPAN and described what he believes is the problem with this weak economy:

Prisoner gets 41% against Obama in WV Primary

How appropriate. They're all crooks anyway:

President Obama is so unpopular with some West Virginia Democrats that they voted for a prisoner in yesterday's primary.

A prisoner in Texas, no less.

Keith Judd, who is serving time at the Beaumont Federal Correctional Institution in Texas for making threats, actually got 41% of the vote against Obama in the West Virginia Democratic primary.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

DHS: Hackers Mounting Organized Cyber Attack on US Gas Pipelines

Source: ABCNews:

For the past six months, an unidentified group of hackers has been mounting an ongoing, coordinated cyber attack on the control systems of U.S. gas pipelines, prompting the Department of Homeland Security to issue alerts.

According to U.S. officials, it's unclear if a foreign power is trying to map the gas systems or if hackers are attempting to harm the pipelines. A previous attack on the oil and gas sector seemed to originate in China.

Occupy Bank of America Protest Foreshadows Democratic Convention


Dozens of good-government groups, Occupy Wall Street contingents, environmental activists, struggling homeowners and institutional investors are descending on Charlotte, N.C., to protest Wednesday's Bank of America shareholders' meeting. Occupiers characterize the event as a test run for activism targeting September's Democratic National Convention, and expect thousands of protesters for a full day of marches and theatrics criticizing what they say are the Charlotte-based bank's consumer abuses and political power.

[...]In fact, the arrests have already begun. On Monday, three activists were taken into police custody for carrying a banner criticizing the bank, according to organizers who discussed the matter on a Tuesday call with reporters. The city of Charlotte has authorized a broad array of unconventional police powers for the bank shareholders' meeting on Wednesday. The American Civil Liberties Union has criticized the preemptive crackdown for permitting the arrest of anyone carrying a backpack, purse or briefcase with the intent to conceal anything on a long list of prohibited items, ranging from weapons to markers to bicycle helmets. Those same police powers will be in effect for September's DNC Convention.

Petitions for boosting Missouri's minimum wage and limiting payday loans have been submitted

They are fighting for increasing the minimum wage in the states but we have yet to hear from the President. Even Romney has come out in favor of increasing the rate. We know that raising the minimum would benefit the economy. So why has the President been silent since taking office?

Supporters of raising Missouri's minimum wage and limiting payday loans have submitted petitions to get the measures on the November ballot.

The minimum wage proposal would boost Missouri's minimum pay to $8.25 an hour starting 2013, with an annual cost-of living adjustment in subsequent years. Missouri currently follows the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.
Full article

Gallup Poll: 50% of Americans Support Gay Marriage

This explains why Obama is flip-flopping on the issue. This President won't take a principled position unless it helps his chances for re-election. He is the consummate politician: leadership by following the polls.

Reporter, Jessica Yellen, said that the President had made the "convoluted" decision to not support gay marriage because the issue is unpopular among African-Americans and other groups. He is making assurances that once he got elected he would come out for gay marriage. This explains Biden's recent ambiguous comments on the topic. They are playing with their gay supporters. And many of them are not having it. Pro-gay marriage groups are threatening to withhold campaign donations to the President.

Obama has done nothing but betray his supporters since moving to the White House. The duplicity on gay marriage is typical of Barack. How many times does he have to lie to us before we wise up. He's a typical politician. Don't believe him anymore.

Article Link

Monday, May 7, 2012

Warren Buffett says he won't donate to Obama super PACs


Despite his public backing of President Obama, billionaire investor Warren Buffett won't be donating money to any of the outside groups supporting the president's bid for re-election.

"I don't want to see democracy go in that direction," the Berkshire Hathaway chairman and chief executive officer said over the weekend at his company's annual shareholders meeting, according to Bloomberg News. "You have to take a stand some place."

Analysis: Murdoch's Fox TV licenses seen surviving UK scandal

Analysis: Murdoch's Fox TV licenses seen surviving UK scandal

- We saw that coming. It will be business as usual before too long. Murdoch should be going to jail but instead gets a slap on the wrist.

Paul LePage, Maine Governor, Tells Unemployed Americans To 'Get Off The Couch' And Get A Job


At the Maine GOP convention on Sunday, Gov. Paul LePage (R) received an enthusiastic standing ovation from his fellow Republicans for saying that all able-bodied out-of-work Americans need to "get off the couch" and go find employment.

LePage called on the state legislature to pass structural changes to welfare, saying, "Maine's welfare program is cannibalizing the rest of state government. To all you able-bodied people out there: Get off the couch and get yourself a job."

Transcript: 'Occupy Wall Street' organizer slings insults during heated debate on 'Hannity'

Yeah, baby. Hannity got back a little of his own medicine:

HANNITY: So anarchy is not easy and more radical alternatives are being explored. Well, from the look of these new pictures from May Day, well, they seem to be pretty radical alternatives to me.
Now the protest quickly turned into a violent and dangerous scene of smashing store windows, attacking police, defacing bank and store fronts.
Joining me now to explain what the motives of this group really are, "Occupy Wall Street" organizer, Harrison Schultz. Thanks for being here.
SCHULTZ: Thanks for having me, Sean.
HANNITY: Appreciate it.
SCHULTZ: Let me start by saying, thank you for letting a dirty hippie come in and explain his views --
HANNITY: You're dirty? You don't take a shower?
SCHULTZ: Well, no, this is the way your news network is portraying us.
HANNITY: Did I ever say you are dirty or a hippie? Did I say any of that?
SCHULTZ: Yes, in August. You were making fun of my friends.
HANNITY: You mean the ones having sex in public, doing drugs and defecating on cars and those who are in other cities that were actually being violent breaking store windows, cursing out police and all of that? You mean those guys, those guys? Because I have tapes of all of that.
SCHULTZ: No, no, no. Those were the people that the NYPD was sending to the park to discredit us and make us look bad. And actually give your network something to focus on.
HANNITY: So you are in Zuccotti Park.
SCHULTZ: I stopped hanging out right around the NYPD --
HANNITY: Zuccotti Park, "yes" or "no." Were you at Zuccotti Park?
HANNITY: Why did they have set up a special, protective rape-free zone tent because of the rapes that took place in Zuccotti Park.
SCHULTZ: The NYPD was sending rapists down to the park.
HANNITY: So the NYPD -- do you have any evidence about this?
SCHULTZ: This was in the NY Times, New York Times.
HANNITY: I asked you a question -- the New York Times said that the police sent rapists to rape women down there?
SCHULTZ: They sent alcoholics. They sent offenders. They sent people who were convicted of rapes.
HANNITY: Do you have any evidence to back it up --
SCHULTZ: I can give testimony. I didn't bring my files with me, but you can check this out --
HANNITY: The New York Police Department brought rapists in and as a result women were raped so a special rape protective zone was set up?
SCHULTZ: You got to admit, it was a really cynical, really effective tactic on the part of the authorities. They knew that we wouldn't turn people away because we like to help people, like Christians should -- even though most of us are not Christian.
HANNITY: You sound paranoid.
SCHULTZ: They definitely exploited a lot of our values and turned it against us and sent people that we tried to help --
HANNITY: What about the violence that took place in other cities and the broken store windows and the sex in public and drug use in public and defecating on a police car, was that a police conspiracy too?
SCHULTZ: I don't think there is anything particularly radical --
HANNITY: About taking a on a car?

UN chief: Killings in Syria "Intolerable"

UN chief: killings in Syria "intolerable"

The 14 months of bloodshed in Syria that has continued despite an April 12 ceasefire and claimed more than 9000 lives is a "totally unacceptable and intolerable situation" that must stop so political dialogue can begin, ...

Video: Massive May Day March in NYC

Video: U.S. Corporations Post Record Profits in 2011

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Feinstein, Rogers Agree the Taliban is Stronger

So tell me why we are still in Afghanistan again? Oh, yeah, It's an election year:

The heads of the Senate and House intelligence committees said Sunday the Taliban was gaining ground, just days after President Barack Obama made a surprise trip to Afghanistan and touted the progress made in the war on terror.

“I think we'd both say that what we found is that the Taliban is stronger,” said Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on CNN’s “State of the Union,” while sitting with Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan.
Full article

'Meet The Press' Transcript (5-6-12)

Full Transcript. Excerpt below:


But the net jobs are down, in terms of job created.  You've lost a ton of jobs over the course of this administration, because of the financial crisis.  And there is this idea of some stagnation out there.  That what was economic recovery seems to have flat lined.  Is that not a concern?

No, it's not a concern.  There-- it's not stagnation.  Look, as you pointed out, there were four million jobs lost in the six months or so before we came to office.  Before I lowered my right hand on-- on January the 20th, we lost 700,000 jobs that month.  And before we got out first major economic initiative passed, we lost another 3.5 million jobs.  Since that point, it's been steady growth, not enough.  There's still a lot of people in trouble.  But there's no stagnation.                                             


Are people discouraged is the question.  And this presidential campaign, which is kicking off in a big way this weekend with the president making his official kickoff.  Mitt Romney is saying, "Look, we need a different path.  We need a different president to turn this around."  And this is how he reacted on Friday to the jobs report.


And the discouragement is real.  Recent polling showing three-- three fourths, 76% of Americans still believe the country's in recession.                                                

Well, you know, for the people who are unemployed, it-- they there you are still in recession.  For the people whose wages are stagnant, it feels like a recession.  I come from a household where whenever there was a massive recession, somebody around that table was going to lose their job.  And-- but here's the deal.  What is Romney proposing?  He's proposing, as to quote Bill Clinton, "going back to the last policy of the last administration on steroids."  I mean, what is he talking about?
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Is he talking about-- how is he going to create jobs?  He talks about another $2 trillion in tax cuts for the very wealthy?  You're going to create jobs?  Is that how he's going to do it?  Is he going to create jobs by continuing to undercut getting people to college and helping them get there by undercutting education?  Is he going to continue to create jobs by eliminating investments in-- in-- research and development?  I mean, what-- what-- what's the plan?

Transcript: Fareed Zakaria GPS (5-6-12)

Full transcript. Excerpt below:

ZAKARIA: My next guest is the author of what some are saying will be the most controversial, perhaps even hated book of the year. "Unintended Consequences" goes against the grain in arguing that the rise of the 1 percent is actually good for the 99 percent.

The author says that contrary to what the Occupy Movement might say, inequality does have its benefits. Ed Conard is here to explain. He is a former managing director at Bain Capital. Yes, he worked closely with Mitt Romney and is now one of his top donors. He joins me now.

So, Ed, let's start by just -- explain to me why is the rise of the 1 percent good for the economy?

ED CONARD, AUTHOR, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, BAIN CAPITAL: It's not really the essential focus of the book. The book is about how to get the economy to grow faster. That growth, in the long run, is powered by innovation and risk-taking.

And part of what the book argues is that the pay-offs for risk- taking are essentially to getting more risk-taking in this economy and that that's good for the middle class and the worker poor.

ZAKARIA: So you want people to invest, take risks with their capital so that you spur innovation?

CONARD: Yes, although I think the economy has changed significantly from where it was in the 1950s, when capital investment to build an automotive industry and a highway system were essential to growth, to one today were 13 guys on a computer can create Instagram and a billion dollars of value in two years.

It's now much more powered by risk-taking than it is by the funding of investment.

Elections are Rigged in Favor of Incumbents

John Fund gets it right except for his conclusion. We need less money in politics not more:

More Americans approve of polygamy than of Congress. A February CBS News/New York Times poll found just 10 percent of respondents approved of Congress’s job performance. A recent poll from the same source found 11 percent of respondents thought polygamy “morally acceptable.” Other polls have found that the “U.S. going communist” has 11 percent support—meaning that concept has more fans than Congress has.

But here’s the paradox: While the approval rating for Congress has hit an all-time low, well over 90 percent of incumbent House members routinely win re-election. Even in the Tea Party election of 2010, 86 percent of House incumbents were returned to office. How can this be? It’s because the game is rigged in favor of incumbents, with more than four out of five congressional districts a lock for one party or another. Incumbent gerrymandering and enormous campaign contributions from Washington lobbyists make it nearly impossible to dislodge members short of major scandal. The general elections in which they cruise to victory time and time again are really fake fights, like the ones in pro wrestling.
Full article

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Transcript: Obama Re-election Campaign Kick-off Speech (5-5-12)

Nothing has changed since 2008:

"We came together in 2008 because our country had strayed from these basic values.  A record surplus was squandered on tax cuts for people who didn’t need them and weren’t even asking for them.  Two wars were being waged on a credit card.  Wall Street speculators reaped huge profits by making bets with other people’s money.  Manufacturing left our shores.  A shrinking number of Americans did fantastically well, while most people struggled with falling incomes, rising costs, the slowest job growth in half a century. 

"It was a house of cards that collapsed in the most destructive crisis since the Great Depression.  In the last six months of 2008, even as we were campaigning, nearly three million of our neighbors lost their jobs.  Over 800,000 more were lost in the month I took office alone.
But he is forced to admit his failure. No sense lying a woeful record:
 OBAMA: "Of course not.  Too many of our friends and family are still out there looking for work.  The housing market is still weak, deficits are still too high, and states are still laying off teachers, first responders.  This crisis took years to develop, and the economy is still facing headwinds.  And it will take sustained, persistent effort -- yours and mine -- for America to fully recover.  That’s the truth.  We all know it.
Full Transcript

Paul Krugman: Income Inequality is impeding Economic Recovery

The famous economist is confirming what Occupy Wall Street has been saying:

 Before the Great Recession, I would sometimes give lectures in which I would talk about rising inequality, making the point that the concentration of income at the top had reached levels not seen since 1929. Often, someone in the audience would ask whether this meant that another depression was imminent.

Well, whaddya know?

Did the rise of the 1 percent (or, better yet, the 0.01 percent) cause the Lesser Depression we're now living through? It probably contributed. But the more important point is that inequality is a major reason the economy is still so depressed and unemployment so high. For we have responded to the crisis with a mix of paralysis and confusion - both of which have a lot to do with the distorting effects of great wealth on our society.
But other learned individuals have made the same argument:
"Countries where income was more equally distributed tended to have longer growth spells," says economist Andrew Berg, whose study appears in the current issue of Finance & Development, the quarterly magazine of the International Monetary Fund. Comparing six major economic variables across the world's economies, Berg found that equality of incomes was the most important factor in preventing a major downturn.
But you don't have to be a scholar to figure this out. Less disposable income means less consumption thus a weaker economy:
But it should be obvious to anyone that if all of the income that results from increases in economic output flow to the top one percent of the population, then the rest of us won't have that income to buy the increasing number of products and services that result from the increased productivity.

What happens, then, is simple: economic growth stalls. Companies won't hire people to produce more products and services if no one has the money to buy them, so they lay people off. Taken as a whole, the economy then has even fewer people with the money to buy new goods and services.

Debt to Income Ratio Top 5% vs. Bottom 95%

Debt for the bottom 95% is now greater than their incomes by 150%.

Governor Romney's Job Growth Record -- Worse than Obama and Carter's


Mitt Romney's sole claim to the presidency is that his business experience will enable him to accelerate job growth in America.

The GOP debates revealed that Romney was a failure as governor, with Massachusetts 47th in the nation in job growth, and only one of the four states that did not recover to pre-2001 recession job levels before the Bush/Cheney economic collapse hit.

But, let us talk less about rankings, and more about actual jobs.

What is that story? Again, for Romney it is dismal.

During Romney's four years as Governor of Massachusetts, he added 61,000 new jobs. At the time, Massachusetts had 2.5 percent of the nation's population. Thus, extrapolated to the nation as a whole, Romney would have added 2.4 million jobs. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Economist James Galbraith Calls for Raising of Minimum Wage Rate

Here we hear from a respected Economist, James Galbraith. If you want to save the economy raise the minimum wage. We are still waiting for Obama and the Democrats to propose the increase:

Obama administration urges freer access to cellphone records

This President has as bad or worse record on civil liberties as George W. Bush:

The U.S. Congress should pass a law to give investigators freer access to certain cellphone records, an Obama administration official said on Thursday, in remarks that raised concern among advocates of civil liberties and privacy.

[...]Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and Republican House of Representatives member Jason Chaffetz of Utah proposed a bill last year trying to detail a legal framework, including requiring a warrant for acquiring location information for a person; however the legislation has not advanced.

SPIN METER: Lawmakers' talk of cuts is just talk

Ross Perot used to talk about government buying votes with your money. That's what it's all about. And that is why members of Congress get re-elected perpetually:

If there's one thing Republicans and Democrats in Washington say they agree on, it's the need to reduce federal spending. And it's something they almost never do, as recent events have proved again.

[...]And so it goes, program by program, year after year, no matter which party controls the White House or Congress.

Lawmakers talk in grand, abstract terms of cutting vast sums from the budget. Even Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, whose Democratic Party traditionally is less fretful about spending than is the GOP, has proposed a whopping $1.2 trillion cut in discretionary spending.

But when given the chance to actually cut a few billion dollars from a particular program, lawmakers routinely bow to ardent defenders, and their lobbyists, and pull back. When these lawmakers get re-elected, term after term, the lesson to aspiring politicians is clear.

Impatient gay-rights groups keep pressure on Obama

Obama knows in the end the gay rights groups will come back running to him:

The refrain sounded by his aides is accurate: Barack Obama has done more for the cause of gay rights than any president before him.

Nonetheless, gay-rights activists and organizations are on the president's case these days, pressing him for further steps on two fronts and suggesting that political timidity is holding him back.

One source of frustration is Obama's stance on same-sex marriage - he has yet to endorse it even though he advocates equal rights for gay and lesbian couples. Tensions may mount as activists and many leading Democrats call for the Democratic National Convention to support marriage equality in the platform it will adopt in September.

The other dispute involves a months-long campaign by gay-rights advocates urging Obama to issue an executive order barring federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Congress Revolts On Obama Plan That Would Ban 'Buy American'

This President proves once again that he has no loyalty to American workers. And still unions plan supporting this anti-labor administration. It is astonishing that Obama continues spit in the eye of working people and the poor and we still just keep buying his lies. He has betrayed his supporters and party. WAKE-UP. Don't be conned any further. Think for yourself. Barack Obama is a fraud:

A group of 68 House Democrats and one Republican sent a letter to President Barack Obama on Thursday urging him to reconsider an element of the controversial free trade agreement currently being negotiated by the administration. If approved in its current form, the pact would effectively ban "Buy American" policies in government contracting.

Although the deal, known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, has received relatively little media attention in the United States, it has sparked international friction among consumer groups and environmental activists who worry that terms demanded by the Obama administration will eliminate important public protections. Domestically, however, the deal's primary source of political tension is from a portion that could ban "Buy American" provisions -- a restriction that opponents emphasize would crimp U.S. jobs.
Full article

Minnesota Police Reportedly Give Drugs To Occupy Protesters For 'Impairment Study'

Source: Huffington Post:

Occupy protestors in Minnesota are alleging that police gave drugs to young people as part of an 'impairment study' that helps officers identify the symptoms of drug use.

In a video (watch above), activists claim that for three weeks, law enforcement officers have been picking up volunteers to participate in a program called "Drug Recognition Expert."

The footage shows alleged participants in the scheme, including one who claims, "They [the police] come into downtown... and basically pick up random people, and ask them to do drug evaluations."

Attack on Syria university protest kills four: group

Attack on Syria university protest kills four: group

Syrian security forces and students with knives attacked a protest against President Bashar al-Assad at Aleppo University early on Thursday, killing at least four people and arresting 200, according to activists and Internet videos. Security forces raided the campus and fired at hundreds of students marching in support of the 14-month-old revolt against four decades of Assad family rule, the British-based opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

Wal-Mart Ordered to Pay $4.8 million in Back Wages

A major victory for these employees and message sent to Wal-Mart. But many workers throughout America are being robbed of their rights on a daily basis. The war on labor is real and spreading, regardless of this particular case:

The Labor Department on Tuesday ordered Wal-Mart to pay $4.8 million in back wages and damages to thousands of employees who were denied overtime charges, the latest in a string of embarrassments for the company over its business practices.

The department said its decision affects roughly 4,500 vision-center managers and asset-protection coordinators who worked at Wal-Mart between 2004 and 2007. Wal-Mart had considered those employees exempt from federal regulations requiring overtime pay but reclassified them in 2007. The government and the retailer have been negotiating the amount owed since then.

[...]The decision comes as Wal-Mart faces investigations into its Mexican operations after the New York Times reported that company executives turned a blind eye while employees allegedly bribed local officials to approve new stores.

CEOs rank Texas tops for business, California worst

Texas also has one of the highest poverty rates in America. It's one of the worst in healthcare coverage for it's population. As for all those jobs created. Most of them were either government or in the service industry. Only a small percentage were related to manufacturing.

 Texas remains the top state for business and California still holds the title for the worst, according to an annual ranking of states by Chief Executive magazine released on Wednesday.

Chief Executive each year surveys CEOs and asks them to grade states in which they do business. This year 650 responded, giving Texas high marks "foremost for its business-friendly tax and regulatory environment," a report on the survey and ranking said on the magazine's website.

"Texas easily clinched the No. 1 rank, the eighth successive time it has done so," the report said. "California earns the dubious honor of being ranked dead last for the eighth consecutive year."
Full article

US Confirms Blind Activist Wants to Leave China

Will the Obama administration cave?

The rural Chinese activist at the center of a diplomatic standoff between Washington and Beijing now wants to leave China with his family, a U.S. spokeswoman said.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters that U.S. officials had spoken twice Thursday with Chen Guangcheng and also with his wife and "they as a family have had a change of heart about whether they want to stay in China."

"We need to consult with them further to get a better sense of what they want to do and consider their options," Nuland said.

The blind, self-taught lawyer spent six days in the U.S. Embassy after fleeing illegal house arrest and other mistreatment in his rural town where his activism angered local officials. He emerged Wednesday when U.S. officials said they had an agreement with Chinese officials for him to set up a new life in another province.

It's unclear whether China would be willing to negotiate further over Chen's fate. The government already has expressed anger that the U.S. harbored a Chinese activist, and China's Foreign Ministry reiterated its displeasure Thursday, calling the affair interference in Chinese domestic matters.

H5N1 Paper Published: Deadly, Transmissible Bird Flu Could Be Closer than Thought


On Wednesday, Nature finally published Kawaoka’s research. (We’re still waiting for the Fouchier paper, though the Dutch scientist was recently granted an export license for his work, so it should appear soon.) The sobering takeaway: avian H5N1 flu viruses in nature may be only one mutation away from spreading effectively between mammals, likely including human beings. If that happens — and if H5N1 retains its apparently sky-high mortality rate — we could be in for serious trouble.

Student Daniel Chong reportedly drank urine to survive 4 days while forgotten in DEA holding cell


The Drug Enforcement Administration issued an apology Wednesday to a California student who was picked up during a drug raid and left in a holding cell for four days without food, water or access to a toilet.

DEA San Diego Acting Special Agent-In-Charge William R. Sherman said in a statement that he was troubled by the treatment of Daniel Chong and extended his "deepest apologies" to him.

The agency is investigating how its agents forgot about Chong.

Chong, 23, was never arrested, was not going to be charged with a crime and should have been released, said a law enforcement official who was briefed on the DEA case and spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Government Must Play Role in Reviving the American Economy

Source: Salon:

The American economy has been driven by waves of technological change and the successful adoption of ideas from elsewhere. Michael Lind, the author of “Land of Promise,” tells us how it happened, and what history teaches us about the way ahead.

The BrowserYour latest book is a sweeping economic history of America. In a nutshell, how did America become such an economic powerhouse?

Well, it did so as a result of collaboration between the government and the private sector and, increasingly in the 20th century, the nonprofit, academic research sector. It’s quite a different story in reality from the tale that is sometimes told of how capitalism grew up without controls in the United States, and then with the New Deal it came under regulation. In fact, the government both at the federal and the state level was deeply involved with projects for promoting the industrialization of the United States and the creation of a capitalist market from the administration of George Washington onward.

CEO Pay Grew 127 Times Faster Than Worker Pay Over Last 30 Years: Study

Source: Huffington Post:

American CEOs saw their pay spike 15 percent last year, after a 28 percent pay rise the year before, according to a report by GMI Ratings cited by The Guardian. Meanwhile, workers saw their inflation-adjusted wages fall 2 percent in 2011, according to the Labor Department.

That's in line with a trend that dates back three decades. CEO pay spiked 725 percent between 1978 and 2011, while worker pay rose just 5.7 percent, according to a study by the Economic Policy Institute released on Wednesday. That means CEO pay grew 127 times faster than worker pay.

Income inequality between CEOs and workers has consequently exploded, with CEOs last year earning 209.4 times more than workers, compared to just 26.5 times more in 1978 -- meaning CEOs are taking home a larger percentage of company gains.

That trend comes despite workers nearly doubling their productivity during the same time period, when compensation barely rose. Worker productivity spiked 93 percent between 1978 and 2011 on a per-hour basis, and 85 percent on a per-person basis, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

Illinois: Feds say city official actually stole $53M


Federal prosecutors say in an indictment that a former financial officer for the small northern Illinois city of Dixon stole millions more in public funds than an initial investigation had uncovered.

Tuesday’s indictment accuses Rita Crundwell of stealing more than $53 million from the city since 1990. An initial criminal complaint filed upon her April 17 arrest had accused her of siphoning $30 million in public funds to a secret account she controlled.

Crundwell is accused of using the money to fund horse-breeding operations that brought her national fame and a lavish lifestyle that included expensive jewelry and luxury vehicles.

The former comptroller will be arraigned May 7 in U.S. District Court in Rockford. 

My May Day Raw Video: Police protecting Chase bank

Factory Orders Post Biggest Decline in Three Years

Doesn't sound to me like the economy is getting any better as the Obama apologists keep insisting.
Factory Orders Post Biggest Decline in Three Years

Billions Of Dollars, Thousands of Lives Lost In Afghanistan War

Why isn't Obama being criticized for losing the war. He expanded it and now he wants to pull out. He didn't run on ending the war. He should be held responsible for the losses.
Billions Of Dollars, Thousands of Lives Lost In Afghanistan War

Facebook users heap baggage on Spirit Airlines after dying vet refused refund

People power. We wont be ripped off any longer. Big business has to respect its customers.
Facebook users heap baggage on Spirit Airlines after dying vet refused refund

Occupy Wall St. activists in N.Y. join May Day protest

The press essentially missed the real story of the May Day rallies. They instead focused on a few trouble makers. The press is all about sensationalism. The coming together of thousands to protest injustice in America is of little concern. That is why we must depend on the people's media. So keep tweeting, blogging, video recording, photographing. The people we be victorious in the end.

This article is an example. They took the exception and made it the rule:

In the birthplace of last year's nationwide Occupy movement, the campaign that had seemed to drop from sight after being evicted from its New York City encampment surged back into the public eye Tuesday with a series of May Day protests, the largest drawing thousands of people to Union Square in Lower Manhattan.

There were no immediate signs of clashes, but tensions were apparent as the afternoon wore on and police erected metal barricades around most of the sprawling square to hem in protesters. Local media reports said 30 people had been arrested, mostly for disorderly conduct.

About 5:30 p.m. EDT protesters began marching down Broadway, headed by a man carrying a large American flag hanging upside down. Crowds waving posters bearing pictures of Che Guevara and banners of labor unions taking part in the march moved slowly down Broadway, which police had closed to traffic at the height of rush hour.

"The workers united will never be defeated," chanted one group walking with a large banner that read: "Smash the 1 percent with communist revolution."